Sue Chappell has been volunteering with the Red Cross in some form or another for about eight years.
It’s rewarding work, I like to leave people with a smile.Sue Chappell
These days she volunteers for the Telecross program, where people make a daily telephone call to check on peoples wellbeing, and as a volunteer driver.
Being a volunteer driver means Mrs Chappell picks up clients to take them to appointments, to do shopping and to social events or outings.
On Wednesday last week Mrs Chappell picked up Hilda, who is nearly 100, from Tumby Bay; it is a standing appointment to take her to her day out at Matthew Flinders Day Centre.
There’s a log book to fill out before Mrs Chappell can hit the road and she packs two chayote for Hilda as well.
Mrs Chappell grew up in Port Lincoln but spent more than 40 years away before returning, and she credits her volunteering for the Red Cross to a need to find something to do.
“Anyone who’s anyone volunteers really, so I walked into the office and said I could work on phones, in the office and could drive,” she said.
Mrs Chappell said she enjoyed driving with regular trips to Elliston, Cummins and Tumby Bay, as well as around town in Port Lincoln.
She said being a volunteer driver was about providing a service for people who could no longer drive themselves.
“The highlight of it all is getting to know someone like Hilda but also learning that people can surprise you all the time,” Mrs Chappell said.
“I had a funny one one day where the only available car was the ute and I was going to pick up a older lady so I took steps and a handle to try and get her up into the car but when I got there, she sprang into it without any trouble.”
Once Mrs Chappell arrives in Tumby Bay and helps Hilda into the car, the trip back to Port Lincoln begins.
Mrs Chappell talks with Hilda about her health, her family, the type of traffic on the road, even the Queen and the royal family get a brief mention.
Hilda said she loved her regular trips to Port Lincoln to spend the day at Matthew Flinders and she was “not changing it for anything”.
“I love it, that’s why I go love. They take good care of me, they really look after me on my trips,” she said.
After she arrives back in Port Lincoln and drops Hilda off, Mrs Chappell said it was seeing the difference volunteers made to peoples everyday lives that was special.
“It’s rewarding work, I like to leave people with a smile,” Mrs Chappell said.